'Idol' lifts Fox to demo victory; NBC's 'Voice' loud

Even with a menu featuring a full serving of primetime’s top dramas and comedies, the first full week of the May sweep was dominated by reality shows.

Fox’s “American Idol,” NBC’s “The Voice” and ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” accounted for the frame’s top four spots in the 18-49 rankings. And toss in the NBA Playoffs, nine of the top 20 programs were of the unscripted variety, according to Nielsen estimates that include same-night DVR playback.

“Idol” was No. 1 among all programs in adults 18-49 (6.6/19 for Wednesday’s performance show and 6.3/20 for Thursday’s results seg), with the second week of “The Voice” moving up to third in 18-49 (5.7/15) and first in 18-34 (4.8/14). Monday’s performance edition of “Dancing,” meanwhile, led everything in primetime among total viewers for a second straight week (21.40 million).

Overall for the May 2-8 sesh, Fox led in adults 18-49 with a 2.8 rating/8 share, followed by ABC (2.5/7, boosted by NBA action on Saturday), CBS (2.2/6), NBC (2.0/6), TNT (1.5/4) and Univision (1.4/4).

Fox also led in adults 25-54 (3.3/9 to 3.1/8 for ABC and CBS) while the Eye had it in total viewers (10 million to 9.1 million for ABC).

On the scripted side, ABC’s “Modern Family” (3.9/10 in 18-49, 9.90m) was the No. 1 program in 18-49. (And the laffer comedy figures to build by 2-plus points when all same-week DVR playback is included, based on its trend this spring opposite “American Idol.”)

The top scripted hours in 18-49, meanwhile, were CBS’ “NCIS” (3.7/11 in 18-49, 17.87m) and Fox’s “Glee” (3.7/11, 8.85m) — perhaps the best example of how two disparate programs can compete and thrive in the same timeslot.

The Tuesday skeins may have tied in 18-49, but that’s about the only category where they were close. “NCIS” beat “Glee” by 6 shares in men 25-54 and by 18 shares in adults 50-plus, while the Fox musical comedy prevailed over the Eye crime drama by 7 shares in women 18-34 and by 9 shares in teens 12-17.

Elsewhere, the NBA Playoffs continue to perform about 30% ahead of last year’s pace, although the loss of the Los Angeles Lakers, which ended their season on Sunday afternoon, could hurt these percentages the rest of the way.

The top three cable programs in demos last week were games of the Lakers’ series against the Dallas Mavericks: Friday’s Game 3 on ESPN (3.4/11, 7.66m) and earlier contests on TNT (3.2/10, 7.04m on Wednesday and 3.0/10, 6.43m on Monday). And ABC dominated Saturday’s primetime action with its Game 3 coverage of the Boston-Miami series (3.4/12, 8.20m).

Also of note in broadcast last week, NBC’s “The Office” performed well with its first episode of the post-Steve Carell era (3.5/10 in 18-49, 6.90m), tying ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” for the slot lead in 18-49 while leading outright in adults 18-34 (3.9/13) and all key male demos.

ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters” (1.9/5, 7.18m) ended its season with an uptick but remains on the bubble for a return. Also wrapping with ho-hum numbers, but due back next season, were NBC’s “30 Rock” (2.1/6, 4.20m) and CBS’ “CSI: Miami” (2.0/5, 9.85m).

Helping its already pretty solid renewal case was CBS soph drama “The Good Wife” (2.4/6, 12.38m), which spiked about 20% week to week.

Aside from the NBA Playoffs, cable highlights included original alternative series including History’s “Pawn Stars” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 4.98m), “Ax Men” (1.5/4, 3.49m) and “Swamp People” (1.4/3, 3.71m) and Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” (1.6/4, 3.27m). Top scripted drama in 18-49 was Lifetime’s “Army Wives” (1.0/3), and in 25-54 it was USA’s Sunday combo of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “In Plain Sight” (both 1.1/3).

The week’s most-watched scripted cable programs were Disney Channel’s series finale of “Suite Life on Deck” (4.57 million) and its lead-out, a preview of upcoming series “A.N.T. Farm” (4.44 million).

At HBO, “Game of Thrones” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.45m) edged up in its fourth outing Sunday.

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